For the second straight year, I feel compelled to write about what I consider a glaring omission in the Hockey Hall of Fame entrants. Don’t misunderstand, the players that gained entry into the HHOF this year are all worthy.
Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Phil Housley and Chris Pronger all deserved this highest honor for their playing careers. Having said that, my compulsion is to express my utter disappointment in the fact that Dave Andreychuk has not been voted into the NHL’s Valhalla.
Dave Andrechuk is Worthy
For those who don’t know as well as the HHOF Selection Committee, Andreychuk played in the NHL for 23 seasons. He played for the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 2004, he captained the Lightning to the franchise’s only Stanley Cup.
Today, Andreychuk is the Vice President of Corporate and Community Affairs for the Tampa Bay Lightning. There is a statue outside of Amalie Arena in Tampa that depicts the moment that Andreychuk hoisted the Stanley Cup after the Game 7 victory against Calgary.
Again, in case you are unaware, Andreychuk is 6th all-time in the NHL in games played. It is worth mentioning that because the overwhelming reason for shutting the door on his HOF nomination seems to be that Andreychuk accumulated some gaudy numbers simply because he played so damn long. He played so long that his numbers, especially goals and power play goals are diluted, they say. He has as many as he has, the argument goes, simply because he played so long.
Yes, he played 23 years. This fact should be celebrated not something to scoff. The fact that he played so long means that every September as training camp opened, he brought out enough of his intestinal fortitude that he won a job with an NHL team. He did this 23 years in a row and lost a year to the 2004-05 lockout. He should be praised for playing the game as long as he did, not punished for it by annually failing to be elected into the Hall of Fame.
Apple to Apples
Comparing Andreychuk to the forwards that have been enshrined over the last three years, I found even more reason that cinches his HOF worthiness. Taking into account the argument that continues to keep Andreychuk out (that he played too long), I looked at how he compares with four Hall of Famers elected in the last three years who, like Andreychuk, were forwards, Peter Forsberg, Mike Modano, Brendan Shanahan and Sergei Fedorov.
In Years of Service, Andreychuk is tied for first out of the group of five with Mike Modano as both played 23 seasons. Beats Shanahan by two years, Fedorov by four and Forsberg by ten years.
In Games Played, Andreychuk ranks 2nd out of the group of five. Keep in mind, this is an average of games played per season. Shanahan played 72.57 games per season and Andreychuk was right behind him with 71.26. Roll that one around a bit, Andreychuk played an average of 71 games in each and every one of the 23 seasons he was on an NHL roster.
In Goals Scored, this is the stat that surprised me the most as the other players in this comparison had more of an offensive perception than Andreychuk. But in goals scored per games played, only Shanahan at 0.43 goals per game was higher than Andreychuk at 0.39, who was tied with Fedorov.
In Power Play Goals, this is a category that is Andreychuk’s ringer since he has more power play goals than any other player in league history. So, naturally he ranked first out of the group in this category.
Selection Committee Must Act
So there it is. Taking away the longevity bias. Comparing him to players who played in the NHL when he played, his stats show that Andreychuk belongs in the Hall of Fame every bit as much as Forsberg, Modano, Shanahan and Fedorov.
So, I implore the Hall of Fame Selection Committee to review Mr. Andreychuck closer. Perhaps the problem is the limitation of only four players per year. Prior to the first expansion in 1967 when the NHL only had six teams, there were more than four players elected into the Hall on 10 different occasions. Why that was good then but now that the league has 30 teams, there is a limit of four? Maybe this rule needs to change.
There are other players that deserve this ultimate prize too. Guys like Eric Lindros, Mark Recchi and Jeremy Roenick to name a few. Players like this and Andreychuk deserve better. They deserve the ultimate recognition about their career from the game they gave so much.
Dave Andreychuk, Hall of Famer. He deserves that; he’s earned that. His numbers stack up against those already in the Hall. He has the resume, he generated those numbers against many who have already been inducted. Wake up member of the Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee, it is past the time to rectify this wrong. Andreychuk accomplished a lot in his career, one thing he hasn’t yet but deserves is to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.